The 2017 Holiday Letter
mThe boys are asleep. It's the last hours of what will go down in this family history book as the year of the most change. The little boys going to sleep tonight couldn't be more different than the little babies going to sleep this time last year. The difference between fifteen months and 2 years and 3 months is so profound it is hard to grasp, making it hard to describe in writing. Because they couldn't be more themselves. That is the funny and beautiful part of it all - tonight, this moment, they are more themselves than they've ever been.
Kenton so staunchly stubbornly right - No Mommy. No Mommy! I said No Mommy! Madison narrating his feelings, his actions, his movements - I need to cry. I want to go potty. I need to go look at the Christmas lights. So sure they are of who they are and what they need and how to get it. It's beautiful to experience.
It's also difficult to parent. I'll be honest. I rocked parenting when they were babies. My overly-scheduled, overly- structured life took well to parenting infant twins, when it was all about getting them from one station to another, from one activity to another - we sleep, we poop, we change diapers, we eat, we bathe, repeat. Don't digress from the schedule and all is fine. Don't let them out of their stations and all is good. Mommy is the only one with language. Babies are good at communicating their needs non-verbally. All is right with the household.
Enter month twenty-two. The boys start speaking words. They start pointing fingers and shaking heads. They start being potty curious. All hell breaks loose. They start knowing where the food comes from, so that dinner time becomes a pointing at the refrigerator game, while yelling "moh" because they also have realized that the louder they are the more likely someone will answer them, even if it is to say, "Inside voice, please."
But before that was walking - Madison at thirteen months (November 2016). Kenton a few months later at the beginning of this year. This meant that getting from station to station became a life and death situation. It meant that my heart literally flipped over if I couldn't psychically contain them or feel them touching me in public places. It meant that I felt mom-shamed on many occasions when other well-meaning people, tried to help me wrangle my children. The Portland Rose Garden on Father's Day was case in point. I know the women meant well when she asked, "Can I help you?" but all I heard was, "that mother is out of control, and her children are going to grow up to be criminals," so I said, shortly, "No thank you. They need to learn." They need to learn, what exactly, I think now. I still do not know.
Then the talking started. Both start using words around March (17 months): Ghat. Bah Bye. Ruck. Ah Die. Ah roh. Ah rite. They haven't stopped talking since. All is right with their world. They now can communicate so many things, tell so many stories, share so much about what is crossing their mind at any given moment. It is perfect. It is trying my patience. I love them.
The boys flew three times this year. They were great on aah-plane when we flew with Cassie (our great former nanny, now member of our village) to Southern California, in June, to commemorate the five year anniversary of Daddy's passing. They flew again, in August, when we flew to Ohio, with Jon Betlinski (Uncle Jon), to visit Madison's god-parents and my godson and his brother. After that, all aah-planes up in sky go to Uh-High-Oh or Eye-dah-hoe which is where I flew for my third trip this year, without them, in October.
For many reasons, this year has reminded me to be present, in every moment, because every moment is gone in the blink of an eye. It's reminded me that I am a much happier person when I get seven hours of sleep. It's reminded me that creativity is the means by which we make sense of the chaos of life; without it we are lost to the randomness, without means to see the patterns or put the seemingly disconnected pieces together. It's reminded me that we are who we are when we are born and it is our parent's job to hold space so we may cultivate the skills, develop the tools, find ourselves, when we become aware enough to recognize who we are is separate from and, yet, always is in relation to our family, our tribe, our community, our country, our world.
So as this year draws to a close, we, the Howards, want to wish you a great and happy new year! We want to say thank you for standing witness to our family. We want to say, "Be here now," a quote from Cheryl Strayed, that resonated with me tonight and for a lot of nights this year. Be here now. Don't be anywhere else in your head or heart, because this moment you don't get back. No matter how much technology has given us by way of documenting our lives, nothing can replace, the real moment when your child runs across the room half-naked, narrating his feelings, I need to go potty. I need to go see the Christmas Lights. I'm tired. I need to go nigh nigh. Where the miss-el-tow go? while the other one yells from the bathroom, I went pooh-pooh. I went pooh-pooh. I went pooh-pooh, waiting for his potty-dance to commence thereby affirming he's done the right thing!
Be here now. And we'll be with you.
May the year we've just had pave the road for the year to come. May the new year bringing unexpected joys and everyday pleasures. Happy New Year!
2017 at a glance:
I'm Kimberly. Single mother by choice. Soon to be wife. Holder of space. Maker of place. Mom. Mama. Mommy. Mitch. These are my thoughts, reflections, ideas and random observations about raising twin sons.
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